Many couples are opting to have a prenuptial agreement, or pre-nup, in place before they get married. This helps ensure that any money or property that you come into the marriage with will remain yours should the marriage end. It also states how much each party will get in the event of a divorce, helping to prevent long, drawn-out legal battles. However, if you have never had a pre-nup before, you may have many questions about them. Here are a few questions you may have about this topic.
Are All Pre-Nups Legally Binding?
Not all pre-nups are legally binding. There are certain criteria that must be met in order to make the order enforceable. First, in order for a pre-nup to be valid, both parties must disclose their true assets. If one spouse tried to hide assets or make the other believe they were worth less, a pre-nup can be invalid. Another reason a pre-nup would not be valid is if the other party was coerced into signing. Both parties must have the mental capacity to enter into a legally binding agreement and do so under their own free will.
Another reason a pre-nup may be invalid is because the paperwork isn't legal. Every state has different requirements in what needs to be included in a pre-nup and what working this type of agreement must have. If that information or wording isn't included, a judge could throw the agreement out if one party ever goes to challenge it. The last reason a prenuptial agreement can be thrown out is because a judge feels one party wasn't treated fairly. If one party was represented and another party wasn't, or if the agreement is completely lopsided, a judge can, at their discretion, throw the agreement out.
Why Is it Important to Have a Family Law Attorney Help You Draft the Pre-Nup?
There are many reasons why a prenuptial agreement can be not legally binding. Unfortunately, if this happens, fighting over property, money, jewelry and other assets can occur. Many people decide to do a pre-nup to keep the items that they have worked hard for or that are important to them. A pre-nup that isn't done correctly can cause one party to lose these items. A family law attorney can draw up the papers and ensure they are legally binding, helping to ensure your pre-nup won't be thrown out in the event of a divorce.
An attorney will also know what can and can't be included in a pre-nup. For example, child support and custody can never be arranged to in a prenuptial agreement, and alimony agreements vary by state. The attorney would know this, which can help ensure every stipulation in the pre-nup meets the laws in your case.
Can an Attorney Help if the Couple Doesn't Agree on the Terms of the Pre-Nup?
If you and your soon-to-be spouse don't agree on the terms of a pre-nup, you may be wondering if a family law attorney can help. While a family law attorney is primarily there to draw up the papers and ensure everything is done from a legal standpoint, they may be able to assist with minor disagreements. A family law attorney could advise both parties as to what would happen if the case ended up in court, which may make one party or the other feel that the agreement being proposed is fair or may make them realize that it isn't fair. An attorney may also be able to advise on other scenarios that neither party thought of, helping to settle a disagreement. However, at the end of the day, if the parties do not agree, there is nothing an attorney can do to force a resolution between you and your significant other if you are at an impasse.
Due to the complexities involved in drafting prenups and ensuring they are enforceable, it is recommended that you hire a family law attorney to assist you with the process. Getting answers to the questions you have about the process will help you to better understand what you can expect through this process. For more information, contact a local law firm like Hurth Sisk & Blakemore LLP.